"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
Several weeks ago our state senate approved a law to legalize hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in North Carolina.
Fracking is a process that uses pressurized water to help retrieve natural gas buried deep within the soil.
The senate vote comes with mixed reviews and questions.
Is fracking safe?
What are the long term effects?
Who will monitor the process?
And what economic impact will this have?
Well, the answers you receive depend on who you ask.
Special interest groups on each side put their particular spin on it.
And let's be clear, just because fracking is now legal, that doesn't mean it's eminent.
The new law calls for a 15-member commission to develop regulations, with potential groundwater contamination a point of special interest.
And no permits will be issued before October of 2014.
Economically, this is a win-win situation for landowners, gas companies, and job-seekers.
North Carolina is believed to have nearly 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas…
much of it concentrated in Lee, Moore and Chatham counties – a region once known for coal mining.
We're still years away from seeing any results, and we're aware of the environmental concerns.
But the risks seem to be minimal, and we think approving the bill was a good thing for North Carolina.
This has the potential to be an economic boon for many years to come.
Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.